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Eight Brief Tales of Lovers

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Daphne

This story is by Ovid.

This young lady, a love-marriage hating young huntress who are met with so often in the Mythological stories. She said to have been Apollo's first love. Daphne did not want any mortal or immortal lovers. Her father was the river-god Peneus. Peneus grew tired because she refused the hand of all young men who wooed her and often asked Daphne "Am I never to have a grandson?" She insisted on being like Diana. He would yield and she would be off deep in the woods, a huntress at work. But at last Apollo saw her, and everything ended for her. As she was hunting Apollo began to chase after her but seeing as she was a highly skilled runner it took some time, but as was expected Apollo caught up to her as she reached the bank of her father's river. Bark began to form around her enclosing her; leaves set forth. She had been changed into a tree, a laurel.

Apollo watched the transformation in grief and dismay. "O fairest of maidens, you are lost to me," he mourned. "But at least you shall be my tree. With your leaves my victors shall wreathe their brows. You shall have your part in all my triumphs. Apollo and his laurel shall be joined together wherever songs are sung and stories are told."

The exquisite shinning-leaved tree appeared to nod its waving head as if in happy consent.

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Alpheus and Arethusa

This story is written by Ovid.

Arethusa, yet another huntress who loved the comfort of the deep woods. She detested love and marriage and vowed never to marry.

One day, as she was tired and hot from the chase, she came upon a crystal-clear river deeply shaded in silvery willows. She undressed and bathed in the river, which was a place that was perfect for bathing. For a while, she swam to and fro, until she began to feel something below her. She sprang up from the river and stood on the bank, as she heard a voice that said "Why such haste fairest maiden?" Without looking back she fled in terror. With all the speed that she could muster up, she kept running and running, but still she was pursued by one stranger, he told her he was the god of the river, Alpheus, and that he was following her only out of absolute love. But she wanted no part of him and yet he unsparingly followed. Arethusa called to her god, Artemis, she changed her into a spring of water, and split the earth so a tunnel was made under the sea from Greece to Sicily. Arethusa plunged down and emerged in Ortygia, where the place in which her spring bubbles up is holy ground, sacred to Artemis.

But it is said that she is still not free of Alpheus. The story is that the god changed back into a river, followed her through the tunnel and the now his water mingles with hers in the fountain. They say that often Greek flowers are seen coming up from the bottom, and that if a wooden cup is thrown into the Alpheus in Greece, it would reappear in Arethusa's well in Sicily.

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